By Eric Langenbacher, firstname.lastname@example.org
There are several things going on in the neighborhood that I wanted to mention to all of you. But first, I have noticed quite a bit of dog poop around the neighborhood. Please be meticulous in picking this up and if you see someone who has not done so, please remind them. I really don’t want anyone to inadvertently step on it—as I have recently getting into my car. And while I am in a nagging mood, drivers are really not very good at stopping properly at stop signs. The intersection by Hardy Middle School at T and 35th is particularly dangerous.
Now that is out of the way, I hope all Burleith residents and/or BCA members can join us for the 7th annual Gløgg party this Sunday, February 4, from 4 to 6 pm at the home of Linda Brooks and Ross Schipper, 3600 T Street. It is always a good time, chatting without neighbors and drinking mulled wine. I am also happy to mention that Mayor Muriel Bowser has confirmed her attendance, as well as Councilmember Jack Evans and folks from the ANC and Georgetown University. Yes, I am well aware that it is Superbowl Sunday, but this is an opportunity to have some pre-game drinks. Kick-off is 6:30. If you haven't already signed up, send an email as soon as possible to LBrooksLB@gmail.com with attendee names and addresses.
Discussions about changing the parking rules in ANC 2E are continuing. I do not think there will be a formal ANC vote on a plan any time soon. All sorts of options are on the table. I have made it very clear that—according to the survey the BCA recently conducted—that folks in our neighborhood are comfortable with the status quo. In fact, about 75% of respondents answered this way. A smaller majority also agreed that Burleith can keep current rules even if Georgetown decides to implement changes. I will keep everyone fully apprised as the discussion progresses.
Earlier in January, there was a hearing on community groups’ (including the BCA) lawsuit against the FAA regarding airplane noise from Reagan National Airport. Many neighbors attended that hearing and most felt that our lawyer did a good job and that the judges seemed sympathetic. A recent verdict in Phoenix for residents against new FAA flightpaths augurs well. Nevertheless, appearances can be deceptive, and we will not know how the judges actually decide until they issue a verdict in the future. Still, there was a lot of skepticism that we would even get this far, so there is already some success.
The BCA also recently started to email BCA members and members of our community listserv whenever requests for special exceptions or variances to the 2016 zoning regulations are filed. Although this information is available on DC government websites, community members affected by the requests are not always aware of pending requests or when the requests are considered by the relevant regulatory bodies. As the BCA emails make clear, community members may share their views—in support or in opposition, in writing, and/or in person—with ANC 2E, which weighs in first, and/or the Board of Zoning Adjustment (special exceptions) or Zoning Commission (variances), which makes the final decision. Interested persons may speak in support or opposition at ANC meetings and/or at BZA and ZC public hearings. The BCA is not taking a position on these requests, although individual board members may choose to participate in the process, whether in support or opposition.
The BCA will soon schedule additional meetings in regards to managing change. One will likely be a refresher on historic designation, coupled with perspectives on the economic ramifications. Another will be an open forum. In the early spring, I would like to reach a decision point (after two years of discussion) about proceeding with an application for historic designation. I believe strongly that the community should decide one way or another so that this option does not circle back in 5 or 10 years. We need to be able to tell future generations of Burleithians that we had a comprehensive process and decided what we decided.
Finally, there are a couple of things to report from the January 29th ANC meeting. I expressed the community's gratitude to the city for replacing the very dangerous sidewalk on the north side of T Street between 38th and 39th Streets. Also, the Georgetown Business Improvement District reported on a survey of Georgetown residents conducted late last year on attitudes towards retail in the neighborhood. The full results are available here. Highlights included the degree to which so many people have shifted to on-line shopping and the overwhelming desire for more restaurants, a bookstore, hardware store, and a grocery store. I suspect Burleith residents would have responded similarly. The Trader Joe's opening in the old Holiday Inn space in 2019 will certainly be welcome. On a more negative note, the legal wrangling between Whole Foods and the building owner in Glover Park is continuing. That store—closed since March 2017—will likely not re-open anytime soon.